When are key limes in season? Whether you're looking to buy key limes or you want to know when to pick from your own key lime tree, this article is for you!
Each harvesting season, Mexico sends about 725,000 metric tons of Persian and key limes to the United States. We don't think about it much because limes are always at the grocery store when we go.
While you can buy the dark green Persian limes year-round, there's a specific time when key limes are at their best. So when are key limes in season? This guide will help you determine the best time to make your key lime pie.
When Are Key Limes in Season?
Florida key limes are in season throughout the summer and into early fall. But these limes are no longer grown for commercial sale.
These days, Mexican and Central American key limes are the limes that you'll see for sale. Mexican key limes are available throughout the year.
How to Tell Your Limes Are Ready
Unlike larger Persian limes, the smaller key lime has a slightly yellow coloring when it's fully ripe. The skin should have a fine grain like leather.
An entirely yellow lime has reached the peak of maturity. These limes are very bitter, and most people find them unappealing. Look for a good balance between the green and yellow.
Avoid limes that are all green and rock hard; these aren't ripe or juicy. You should also avoid limes that have hard and shriveled skin. These are limes that are too old.
Lime Tree Harvest: How To
If you have your own key lime tree, then you can pick each lime at the peak of ripeness. This ensures each lime will give the most juice and the perfect blend of flavor and tartness.
Limes last longer when you leave them on the tree. Your lime tree harvest should only be for what you currently need.
When you do, pick the low hanging fruit first. This fruit is more susceptible to frost and brown rot.
If you have a Florida key lime tree, you'll have to contend with thorns and need to wear leather gloves. Other thornless key lime varieties make harvesting more enjoyable.
Grasp the fruit in your hand and gently twist. A ripe lime will pop right off the branch without much effort.
Where to Find Key Limes
If you don't have your own tree, you can find key limes in most grocery stores. They don't stay fresh long, so you'll need to buy and use them when you see them.
When picking key limes, look for ones that are already ripe. This fruit will not continue to ripen after its picked. Look for a yellowish-green color. They should be heavy and firm, but not hard.
Since these limes are smaller and more expensive than Persian limes, they're typically sold in pre-measured bags. This can limit your ability to choose which limes you want.
Another option is to look for key lime juice. Typically, bottled juice is more cost-effective, and you can find it sold in more places, such as online.
Grow Your Own Key Limes
As you can see, harvesting key limes on your own can result in having fresh fruit year-round. But knowing the answer to "when are key limes in season," will help you select the juiciest and most flavorful fruit.
Having your own tree lets you control the key lime harvest. You can hand select your limes at the peak of ripeness.
Growing trees is fun, but if you want to have delicious, seasonal citrus fruit right away, join the Craft Citrus Club!
Our Rio box is a 15-lb curated box of our fresh-harvested citrus from South Texas. The fruit is NOT gassed, rather it is tree-ripened. Our season runs from Nov-May for oranges, grapefruit and mandarins.
Our Grande box is a 30-lb box of either fresh-harvested Rio Red Grapefruit or Sweet Oranges from South Texas.